Universal Studios Hollywood with Kids in Southern California…
100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, California 91608 (multiple locations)
Good for: Families, teens, adults
Price: $80/adult ($89 for two days), $72/child ($81 for two days), $15/parking
Features: Studio Movie Tour, live shows, rides
Paying a visit to Hollywood would not be complete without some movie magic. Universal Studios is just the place to go for cinematic nostalgia as well as sneakpeeks of new films to come. It’s the west coast cousin of the Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.
The Studio Movie Tour is the main attraction. These blue trams have been our ‘must-do’ for years. While many stops remain the same (i.e. Jaws, flash flood, etc.) others change regularly. The new 3D Kong is pretty cool but you need to be in the middle section of the tram to really appreciate the 360 aspect. Just a note – the stalking killer guy from psycho chased us and it has totally given me nightmares ever since…shudder…
Props and backgrounds from old films like Back to the Future and Jurassic Park are abundant, as are ones from current movies like Spiderman. We also got a glimpse at some behind-the-scenes techniques. The motorized cars from The Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift were pretty entertaining and there was a HUGE green screen that had recently been used for recent filming sessions. It was also exciting to pass through the area with working studios and see what shows are currently being recording on the lot.
We loved all the photo ops found throughout! I mean, really, who could pass up posing in a set like this?!
A new feature, at least to me, was the Curious George section. This is a great outlet if the little ones need some extra energy released. With southern California generally being on the toasty side, the mist-blowing fans felt soooo nice. Then, the whole family can enjoy a live action adventure with the Waterworld show. Seeing all the stunts and the massive biplace soar freely toward the audience never gets boring. Although, it would be nice if they made a show on a movie just a tad bit newer. The Simpson ride is just like the series on tv so if you don’t like that you won’t like the ride, and visa versa.
When you’re all done sightseeing, it’s time to hit the rides. Several flights of escalators bring you to the lower area. Transformers 3D is the newest ride. You’re basically flung from screen to screen with all kinds of stuff virtually flying at you. The first time we rode it, my 3D glasses flew off after just a couple of minutes. Being on a 3D attraction is completely pointless without the 3D glasses. Fortunately, the staff was very understanding and gave me a secret password to get right back on the ride again. I can’t tell you what it was as that would ruin all the fun! Anyway, the second time around, I held onto those glasses like nobody’s business and really enjoyed being part of the action.
We decided to skip the Mummy and instead headed to the Jurassic Park ride. Oh, this was one was amazing! The sets and animatronics were fantastic, but that also meant it was just as unnerving as the movie. On this ride, you WILL get wet whether it be from the spraying dinosaurs, through the sheeted waterfall, or on the splash from the drop at the end. Despite being soaked, both young and old will have a blast.
Universal Studios is a bit dated but definitely worth your time while hitting other parks in the area, especially if you have television show or movie fans in your group. To make the most of your visit, I’d highly recommend either buying your tickets online to get two days at a discount or purchasing the VIP pass. The VIP pass allows front of the line privileges to most attractions and insider extras during some shows.